The One Jesus Loved

The One

The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:22-25)

Read: 2 Samuel 2:12-3:39, John 13:1-30, Psalm 119:1-16, Proverbs 15:29-30

Relate: The 12 Apostles:

Matthew                                        Mark                              Luke                                   John

Peter                                             Peter                             Peter                                 Peter
Andrew                                         Andrew                           Andrew                             Andrew
James                                           James                           James                               “Sons of Zebedee”
John                                              John                             John                                  “Sons of Zebedee”
Philip                                             Philip                            Philip                                  Philip
Bartholomew                                 Bartholomew                Bartholomew                     Nathaniel
Thomas                                         Thomas                        Thomas                             Thomas
Matthew                                        Levi                               Levi                                         –
James bar Alphaeus                    James bar Alphaeus      James bar Alphaeus               –
Thaddeus                                     Thaddeus                       Jude bar James                 Jude (Not Iscariot)
Simon of Canaan                         Simon of Canaan           Simon (the Zealot)                  –
Judas Iscariot                               Judas Iscariot                Judas Iscariot                    Judas Iscariot

There are two things that I want to mention here: first, unlike the synoptic gospels, the gospel of John never makes a list of the twelve apostles. Three of the twelve are never mentioned, Bartholomew is called Nathaniel (Yes, I agree with practically all of church tradition and scholarship that calls the two the same person) and even two of the big three (Peter, James, and John) are only mentioned as the “sons of Zebedee”.

Second, there is another disciple named only as “the one Jesus loved” twice in John. Now it has been a fun trend for the past hundred years or so to try and “figure out” who this guy really is. Lets forget the fact that throughout all of time and church history and even the most cursory examination it is obvious that this beloved disciple is John. We want controversy. There is no controversy here. It’s John.

By the time John wrote his gospel he would have been the only surviving apostle. One after the other the rest became martyrs after being missionaries. They left their homes and comfort to carry out the great commission and ultimately gave their lives to tell about His. John should have been a martyr. They really did try. But He lived on. He must have been a figure larger than life for that early church. He would have been like Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, and the Pope all rolled into one for that first century of believers. So when John wrote his gospel he did his best to keep himself out of it that only Jesus would receive glory. He told stories and recalled events that hadn’t made it into the other recollections written and being passed around. It wasn’t “later additions” and it isn’t any more historically inaccurate. This gospel was John saying, “Here’s what you’ve heard so far. Let me tell you a bit more about Jesus.”

React: I have to admit if I were in John’s shoes I might have painted myself on every page of that gospel. “I was there when He…” “Later when the others were out He told me…” “It was only me, Peter, and my bro who went with Him to…” Instead John shot for obscurity. He avoided that spotlight as much as possible. Even when he couldn’t avoid mentioning himself, he only did so obliquely. This story was all about Jesus, so he didn’t matter.

I remember in college a pastor coming to speak who threw out a challenging question. “Would you be willing to serve in obscurity in some rural town for your entire life laying the foundation for revival, then only after you have moved on or passed away someone else comes in, reaps the harvest from all your sacrifice and gets all the glory?” Would I be willing to have my name completely removed from the picture? If total obedience means complete obscurity, am I willing to walk down that road? Is it OK to watch everyone else get credit and recognition while I am completely overlooked? If not, then who am I really serving?

Respond: 

My life is Yours, God. Let everything I do be about You, for You. Even if nobody will ever know my name… that’s OK. I am known as the One that You love and that is more than enough. You are all that matters. Your glory is everything.

 

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16 thoughts on “The One Jesus Loved

  1. Thank you so much for this reminder that it’s all about Jesus. It’s so easy, in our consumerism and materialism to demand, ‘what about me?’ and yet, it’s all about Jesus. Everything is all about Him. Bless you.

  2. Reblogged this on emalineachieng and commented:
    IF GOD AND JESUS ARE FOR YOU,WHO CAN BE AGAINST YOU??????????????
    NOBODY AND NOTHING
    AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS SIMPLY A POLITICAL
    NI TYRANNY OF NUMBERS
    GOD AND JESUS FOR YOU OUTNUMBERS ALL THE WOULD BE NAYSAYERS AND AGAINST YOU’ERS.
    EMEN
    LET’S SUPPORT TYRANNY OF MA NAMBA.BECAUSE BY THEM NUMBERS ALL YOUR DETRACTORS CRY THEMSELVES HOARSE AND YOU DRINK AND GET MA REFRESHED AND RE NEWED AND ON TOP,AND TO YOUR DESTINATION AND THERE’S NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT.

  3. A worthwhile meditation.
    The questions you’ve asked are quite relevant to my own struggle to keep Jesus the absolute center of my focus. Like you, I probably would have at least subtly tried to redirect just a little attention to my own role in the story.

    It’s good to be able to look in the mirror of scripture and see my true motives reflected back.

    As another John is recorded to have said “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

  4. Really powerful. How willing am I to take a back seat? To serve, as you’ve said, in obscurity? We live in a culture that honors being known and seen, up front and obvious. This is the bottom line of the gospel–it’s about Jesus doing what only Jesus can do in me. Thanks for this.

  5. You hit the nail on the head. I typically like to be in the background, but have been guilty of wanting the recognition. Thanks for the simple reminder that it is never about me but all about Jesus!

  6. We have to be small to enter the narrow path and it is only by putting Him first in our lives that we are able to lose ourselves. Thank you for reminding us of this truth! 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on ChristianBlessings and commented:
    Please pray for the itinerant pastors who bring the gospel to the villages around Pokhara, and also all the missionaries worldwide who are involved in the trenchwork, in sending the Light to the unknown.

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